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Paradise Lot Two Plant Geeks One-Tenth of an Acre by Eric Toensmeier

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Paradise Lot
Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City
by Eric Toensmeier

"Eric has a leisurely, entertaining, and personable way of revealing how his own edible forest garden evolved. Along the way, the reader will learn design guidelines that can be used in virtually any climate. A good read full of insight and science."
—Robert Kourik, author of Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape—Naturally

How we did it and the challenges along the way.

When Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates moved into a duplex in a run-down part of Holyoke, Massachusetts, the tenth-of-an-acre lot was barren ground and bad soil, peppered with broken pieces of concrete, asphalt, and brick. The two friends got to work designing what would become not just another urban farm, but a “permaculture paradise” replete with perennial broccoli, paw paws, bananas, and moringa—all told, more than two hundred low-maintenance edible plants in an innovative food forest on a small city lot. The garden—intended to function like a natural ecosystem with the plants themselves providing most of the garden’s needs for fertility, pest control, and weed suppression—also features an edible water garden, a year-round unheated greenhouse, tropical crops, urban poultry, and even silkworms.

In telling the story of Paradise Lot, Toensmeier explains the principles and practices of permaculture, the choice of exotic and unusual food plants, the techniques of design and cultivation, and, of course, the adventures, mistakes, and do-overs in the process. Packed full of detailed, useful information about designing a highly productive permaculture garden, Paradise Lot is also a funny and charming story of two single guys, both plant nerds, with a wild plan: to realize the garden of their dreams and meet women to share it with. Amazingly, on both counts, they succeed.

About the Author

Eric Toensmeier
Eric Toensmeier calls himself a "socially engaged plant geek." He has spent much of his adult life exploring edible and otherwise useful plants and how they can be used in designed ecosystems. He is also co-author with Dave Jacke of the two-volume permaculture design manual Edible Forest Gardens. http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/edibleforest2?phpMyAdmin=cc7f526775741054d7ad2ee8c5bc73d1

Eric has worked as a small farm trainer at the New England Small Farm Institute (Belchertown, MA) (www.smallfarm.org) and currently manages the Tierra de Oportunidades new farmer program of Nuestras Raices (www.nuestras-raices.org) in Holyoke, MA. There he is designing and installing a permaculture landscape in concert with immigrant farmers ...
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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I love Eric's books and writings however this looks by your description like another "warm weather" book, I just cry out for a more temperate book or two..I am a real bookaholic..but am so tired of reading books that do not apply to my zone..would it be worth reading if you live in snow ??
Wilfred Roe
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hi Brenda
Eric is writing about the Northeast which is a cold temperate climate,
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Location: Vermont
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Yes, the site is in Central Massachusetts. I have visited the site, and purchase some plants from their small nursery on the side. It took an hour to walk about 100 feet through the path around the back yard. It was like 10 different named perennial plants for every step in the garden.

See some videos of the small lot.


I think she's lovely. It's this tiny ad that called her crazy:
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